Obama Eases Health Care Mandate for Employers
Small businesses will have another year to give workers coverage
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 10, 2014 4:38 PM CST
President Barack Obama waves as leaves after signing the farm bill, Friday, Feb. 7, 2014, at Michigan State University in East Lansing, Mich.    (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

(Newser) – Trying to limit election-year damage on health care, the Obama administration today granted business groups another delay in a much-criticized requirement that larger firms cover their workers or face fines. In one of several concessions in a complex Treasury Department regulation, the administration said companies with 50 to 99 employees will have an additional year to comply with the coverage mandate, until January 1, 2016. For businesses with 100 or more employees the requirement will still take effect in 2015.

But other newly announced provisions, affecting technical issues such as the calculation of working hours, may help some of those firms. Some major business organizations were quick to praise the administration's compromise. "These final regulations secured the gold medal for greatest assistance to retailers, and other businesses, and our employees," said Neil Trautwein, a vice president of the National Retail Federation. Under ObamaCare, most small businesses don't have to offer coverage. There is no mandate on firms with fewer than 50 employees. But for companies with 50 or more workers, the coverage requirement was originally supposed to have taken effect this year. Click for the full story.